Hostage Crisis at Congregation Beth Israel In Colleyville, Texas

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Staff of the Jewish Federation of Western Connecticut, it gives me great pain to have to write about the terrible ongoing hostage situation in Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas. Although the target of this heinous act is a specific congregation in a particular place, we know that the impact of this event is being felt by every Jewish person everywhere.

First and foremost, we pray for the quick and safe release of the Rabbi and congregants. In addition, we wanted you to know that your Federation is also taking steps to help enhance the security of our community in Western and Northwestern Connecticut.

As you are all aware, just a few months ago, the Federation contracted with SCN, the nonprofit organization charged with safeguarding the security of the Jewish Community in North America, to hire a highly trained Regional Security Advisor to advise the

Federation and all of the Jewish institutions in our region on security matters.

Our Regional Security Advisor, Mike Shanbrom, has been in regular contact with me today. More importantly, he has reached out to all of our community Jewish organizations to update them on the crisis and to ensure that we are all being especially vigilant. Our history tells us that a hateful event in one area can often lead to hateful events elsewhere. In addition, Mike has also contacted our local law enforcement organizations to make sure that they are stepping up patrols and otherwise looking out for the Jewish community.

I, too, have been in contact with Rabbis, Cantors, Jewish educators and others in the Jewish community to update them on the crisis and to make sure that they know that the Federation will provide any other support they need.

There will be a lot more to say about this situation. However, there are a few points that are worth making right now. First, hate matters. It has consequences. We must all fight hate no matter who that hate targets. Second, although we recognize that many groups are the subject of hate, when people hate anyone, very often Jews are at the top of the list. Third, in the face of hate, our job as the Jewish people is to continue to be brave, be strong and be proud.